KENNY BRACK (No. 15 Pioneer/Miller Lite Dallara/Honda/Firestone): "I'm feeling a lot better than I did on Wednesday. I was flat on my back with a 104 (degree) fever then. I must have really got something bad with the flu. I have been feeling ...
KENNY BRACK (No. 15 Pioneer/Miller Lite Dallara/Honda/Firestone):
"I'm feeling a lot better than I did on Wednesday. I was flat on my back with a 104 (degree) fever then. I must have really got something bad with the flu. I have been feeling better with each day. I probably still have a little fever, maybe 99, but it didn't affect me in the car today. With practice and qualifying runs, I wasn't tired at all. Maybe the race will have some affect on me with the long distance, but I'll be feeling better on Sunday. The track is very similar from when I raced here in 1999, but the cars are much different. With the field being so tight and competitive, I think passing will be difficult. The race will have a lot of strategy and fuel economy runs. Most of the cars in front of us and behind us have tested here. We didn't test here. Rolling off the truck can sometimes be more luck than skill, and we weren't horrible off the truck today. Taking everything into account, we aren't too bad. We didn't know what to expect here, but our team was pretty close on the setups. We were off on gearing a little, and that hurt our times this morning. We ran full tanks this morning, and the car felt good. Overall, I feel that we'll have a good race car, and that is most important."
ROBBIE BUHL (No. 24 Purex/Aventis/Dreyer & Reinbold Dallara/Chevrolet/ Firestone):
"It's unfortunate with the rain because we have a pretty good race car. We had a really great first session this morning, and then worked on our qualifying setup during the afternoon. I can drive it pretty much anywhere we want. We've raced well here in the past, and we'll see what tomorrow will bring."
DAN WHELDON (No. 26 Klein Tools/Jim Beam Dallara/Honda/Firestone):
"I think we would have been reasonable out there. With as competitive as the series is, to get pole you have to have a lot of confidence going in, and perhaps mine isn't the highest right now. The Klein Tools/Jim Beam car will be strong tomorrow. I know (team manager) Tony (Cotman) will make some good calls in the pits, and the crew will give me some good stops as long as I hit my marks. We will be good."
DARIO FRANCHITTI (No. 27 Archipelago/Motorola Dallara/Honda/ Firestone):
"Today was a busy day because I had to get back up to speed myself. That slowed our development, but it was nice to be back out there. We worked on the Archipelago/Motorola car's race setup in the morning session, and then we found a pretty good qualifying setup this afternoon. Unfortunately, we ran out of gear. I think we could have been a lot closer to the front."
How are you feeling?:
"I feel fine. When I come into the pits, the muscle on the left side of my back tightens up, but when I'm out on track, I feel great. It's nice to be back with the team and running again."
SCOTT DIXON (No. 9 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/Toyota/ Firestone):
"We had a really fast car when we first unloaded, then it just seemed to get worse as the practice sessions went on. We've still got a really good car, but the changes that we made after the morning session made the car a little worse. I think that we'll have a really good car in the race tomorrow. Team Target has given me great race cars all year, and that's one thing that we have focused on. The race here is 225 laps, and you need to have a solid and balanced car in the race."
TONY KANAAN (No. 11 Team 7-Eleven Dallara/Honda/Firestone):
"The first day I came here was this morning. I need to thank Dan Wheldon for the setup because he came here. I was hurt during the month of May. That's when the team came here to test. I couldn't test because of my arm, so he did a great job. I tried to be here yesterday to have some laps on the track with the Pace Car, but I got a 14-hour flight from Miami to here, so it wasn't a good day, either. I couldn't get here yesterday, so I was a little bit uncomfortable this morning. I asked (Brian) Barnhart if I could go and get a Pace Car ride. I did four laps. This place is pretty amazing, but obviously, the car helped me a lot, and I was able to have a good day. It really reminded me of my Indy Lights times with Helio (Castroneves). We used to get in places that we had never seen before, and we were trying to beat each other so bad. It didn't matter if we were learning the car or learning the track, we just wanted to go fast, and that's basically what happened this morning with me. Like Helio said, this place is not easy at all. It's a mile oval, and it's very fast. There are some bumps that can trick you. I almost got caught in my first outing. I went sideways big time out of Turn 1. That's the price you pay not knowing the track and trying to be too anxious to try to make the lap time. Second session was better. We made some changes, and obviously the car was pretty good. Obviously, I can't tell you I got any setup tips driving the Corvette around here."
How do you feel about Dario Franchitti returning to action?:
"I'm impressed. By lap four (of the first practice session), he was flat all the way around. For a guy that was out of the car for two months, that's pretty amazing. He's bringing his confidence back. He can't say he's 100 percent comfortable because he was away for a long time. He got cleared to drive actually on Wednesday, so he didn't have time to get a few laps anywhere. We knew it would take him a little bit of time to get up to speed i n the first session. If you look at the second session, he was up there. I think he would have been better off in qualifying. He's keeping it positive. It's good to have him back on the team. It's good to have the team back in place so that all three of us can work together. It's going to be really competitive. Helio's going to be tough. We can count on Gil (de Ferran). It's going to be a tough race for everyone. Traffic's going to be important. The person that makes less mistakes is going to win this one. Honda's sponsoring the race. It's good to give a pole to them. It's the third pole that we've had this year. It's been great so far. Hopefully, we can stay consistent. This series is so competitive that you can't afford to make a mistake."
TOMAS SCHECKTER (No. 10 Target Chip Ganassi Racing Panoz G Force/ Toyota/Firestone):
"We were hoping to be a little bit better in practice today, but all things considered, it wasn't a bad day. In fact, this is the best car that I've ever had here, and that's encouraging. We would have probably been a top-six car in qualifying, but we'll just have to work on the race car tomorrow and see where we're at. I've really enjoyed Colorado so far. I've done some sightseeing, played some golf, and I really like it here. I'll like it even more if we can win this thing tomorrow."
BUDDY RICE (No. 52 Red Bull Cheever Racing Dallara/Chevrolet/Firestone):
"We're pretty happy today with our new Chevrolet engine package and also with our 16th-place qualification. This 1-mile track is similar to Phoenix, so we're hoping for a solid race and another good run for the Red Bull Cheever Racing team."
HELIO CASTRONEVES (No. 3 Marlboro Team Penske Dallara/Toyota/ Firestone):
"Everybody wanted to see qualifying. I knew it would not be easy. Tony (Kanaan) is running fast. I'm satisfied starting on the outside front row, so we just have to keep our head cool and be patient tomorrow. Obviously, it's going to be about traffic. That's going to decide who's going to win. Like last year, Gil (de Ferran) had a very strong car, and I was always right there, but unfortunately never had a chance to jump in front of him. It's just one of those deals. We're on the same team. I know what he's got. He knows what I've got, so there's nothing that I can do about it. My car seems to be handling extremely well. I just have to pace myself and hopefully change the results from last year."
What's lost by not having qualifying:
"Qualifying is one of those precious times that you don't look for saving fuel or saving tires. You're just thinking about speed, how fast you actually can go. It's one of those deals you just go for it. It's a little bit disappointing, but it's not the end of the world. Obviously, the race is tomorrow, and the points that count are tomorrow."
Did you intentionally want to post a fast time in practice in case qualifying would be rained out today?:
"No, because there wasn't even a cloud around. I never thought in my mind it was going to be rainy. Just all of the sudden like in the past when I've come here, it just started getting dark and there was lightning, and the rest of the story you know already."
About testing at PPIR last week:
"Even if the day is not perfect, you always learn something. When you're in the car and have seat time, you always learn a little bit. It was extremely important for me, especially after we ran in Richmond when I had a little trouble over there. It's good because I need at least to have some laps here. This place is comfortable when you get used to it, but until you get used to it, it takes a little time to find the setup. That's why it was extremely important to be testing here."
Did you practice in race or qualifying trim this morning?:
"We started very low in downforce, and then we went to race setup because we knew that we were going to only have two practices today. It's one of those situations that you can't just keep changing the cars and keep changing the springs or stuff like that. I decided, 'Let's go and put our race setup and hopefully we're going to learn something with traffic.' The second session, with what we learned from the morning, we just continued with new tires and stuff like that. That's why the times were extremely faster than this morning."
AL UNSER JR. (No. 31 Corteco Dallara/Toyota/Firestone):
"In this morning's practice session, we ran a lot of fuel because it's a two-day show, and we wanted to get some full-fuel runs done for the race. So in the first session, I didn't have anything less than 25 gallons of fuel in the car and spent my time doing that. Near the end of the session, we let the fuel run down to match the tires, but I still had old tires on. This afternoon, we made some changes to the car, and we ran the fuel down since it was before qualifying. I never got the car comfortable to run wide open around the track, so my lap times just weren't there. It's a shame that it rained on the fans and us, but hopefully we've done some full-tank running that will help us in the race. Although I've run reasonably well here, I've never started from this far back, so it's going to be really tough for us. Those first few laps are going to be really critical for us to try and stay on the lead lap and not to get a lap down and not to get caught up in any accidents. We're just going to really have to use our heads tomorrow."
SCOTT SHARP (No. 8 Delphi Dallara/Toyota/Firestone):
"We're pretty pleased with the day today. We had a good test here earlier in the month, so we made some changes to the car today based on what we thought the next step from testing would be, and it backfired on us a bit in the first practice session. But the Delphi team rebounded nicely in the second practice session and got ourselves down to a pretty good speed. We're only two-tenths of a second off the fastest time yet we're 10th, so it's a very competitive field. We've made some good steps and gained quite a bit of time there at the end of the session, and we had actually made a few more changes for qualifying that we think might have even moved us closer. We did some long runs when we were here at the test, so hopefully it will pay off for us tomorrow."
TORA TAKAGI (No. 12 Pioneer Mo Nunn Racing Panoz GForce/Toyota/Firestone):
"This is my first time here at Pikes Peak, and it looked like it during the morning practice session. We didn't go fast right away, but we learned about what the car likes and doesn't like on this track. We incorporated changes to the car based on Felipe's (Giaffone) data, and they made the car faster right away in the afternoon session. We definitely will need to be perfect with our pit stops because it will be difficult to overtake."
FELIPE GIAFFONE (No. 21 Hollywood Mo Nunn Racing Panoz G Force/ Toyota/Firestone):
"We started off with a good car from the very beginning today. I would have really liked to have had a real qualifying session because I really think, after some changes we made to the car after the afternoon practice, that we had a good shot at the pole. But starting third here is going to be all right. It's a very difficult track to get around people, even more so than Phoenix, so the race is going to be won or lost on pit stops, I'm sure. But you definitely will need to have a good race car. We had a great car for qualifying today. I'm not sure we had it where we wanted it for the race, but we'll work on that tomorrow morning, and hopefully, we'll have a good day. We haven't had any breaks lately, so hopefully it will be our day tomorrow."